March 2005 - Traphagen Inn at Beekman Arms (dt)
(late 2007: renamed Tavern at Beekman Arms)
7.21 - 7.5, 7.5, 7.5, 7, 7, 7, 7 (2 absent, 1 substitute)

Late March, and an expanding early evening light found us inspecting the Monteverd’s home improvement project, before embarking to our dinner date. Whereupon, front car driver Ken teased us, making a feint at Tori G’s in Catskill, and then the Sportsmen’s Grill at Tivoli. As we turned past the Red Hook road, I threatened “my driver” we better be stopping at the Traphagen. Sure enough, we cruised down Rhinebeck’s Rt 9, and parked behind the Beekman Arms.
    UPSIDE: Our mystery destination leads to some driver one-upmanship, with several feints for the second car, just to add a dash of excitement. I hope that Bettyann (Tom’s cousin from the Buffalo area, the first ever non-DP8) was not scared off by our entertainment warm-up.
    The Beekman Arms is a destination that none, except for Deb K, had previously visited. So, the anticipation of the reputation escalated as we entered the center of Rhinebeck.
    An old Rhinebeck building is eyeful enough but the Traphagen interior, with its opening lobby, last-century artifacts, low ceilings, fireplaces, colonial-feel furniture, and our expansive table, sets a comfortable mood. Even better, we had the back bar-side alcove, big enough for a table of seven. Thus, we had, for all practical purposes, our own room, with prints of old Rhinebeck, as well as colonial and 19th century reproductions, gracing the walls.
     The service was pleasantly leisurely, even a little slow-paced a couple of times, but quite agreeable. Our “waiter extraordinaire” (yes, you, Joe) was efficient, dependable and reserved, with a tinge of humor on the side. For a single server, courses were delivered quickly, glasses filled promptly, food questions answered, and, more importantly, Ken’s coffee cup never emptied, with a pot just feet away.
     A bottle of Mondavi cabernet sauvignon kept us at bay for the evening, with a couple of diet sodas filling our subdued beverage list. The house salad was an understated zest of mixed greens and radish slices, topped with a flavorful creamy house dressing. Those opting for the Caesar salad were also pleased.
     Our solitary appetizer was the Sheepherding Company Camembert Crisp, flavored by walnuts and apples, cleaved several times to whet a few appetites.
     It was somewhere about here that Deb K realized she had left her wallet at home. Pleading for mercy, she convinced a couple of us to cover the Karnes’ share of the bill until the next day, a deed gladly done.
     The entrees menu was of modest length but plentiful enough for DP8. Sea scallops, bouillabaisse, prime rib, petite filet mignon, meat loaf(!), and mahi mahi reflected a varied palate, and all were prepared tastefully.
     The dessert menu was examined, and chocolate mostly won out. Deb and I tried the Chocolate Explosion, one of the best chocolate desserts I’ve had. The chocolate pecan pie tempted a couple of others, and single servings of the raspberry-chocolate mousse and crème brulee kept a couple others happy.
     The tab for the evening was average-high for our usual visits, but certainly within our range of expectation.
     Afterward, we toured the ground level rooms for several minutes before heading out into the 37 degree (according to the bank sign) March evening that was cool but promised warmer in the months ahead.
     DOWNSIDE: Well, for one, not that Traphagen could do anything about this, but the Adams’s trip to D.C. made us DP6 (DP7 with Bettyann).....
     The only very minor quibble was where we sat (because we did enjoy our setting) was the placement of the rest rooms. The rest room traffic past us was relatively unobtrusive but occasionally noticeable because of our relative isolation.

===== All in all, even though all our visits are worthwhile, we thoroughly enjoyed the food, service, ambience, and company at Traphagen’s.